The New Parish

The New Parish is a new book by Tim Soerens, Paul Sparks, and Dwight Friesen. As someone who has written a great deal on ecclesiology myself, InterVarsity Press sent me a copy of the book. Instead of writing a review, I thought it would be better to interview all three authors.

If you have any questions for me about the book, feel free to ask them in the comments. I’m not sure if the authors will be fielding questions here or not as I know they are extremely busy promoting the book.

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Instead of asking, “what is your book about,” I’m going to ask the question that’s behind that question. And that unspoken question is, “how are readers going to benefit from reading your book?”

Tim Soerens: I like that question because while the book is obviously about “The New Parish,” but what is undergirds the hopes of the book is the idea of faithful presence. The idea that God is calling us in each moment into what it means for us to relate faithfully to God, to the person in front of us, and to the context in which we find ourselves. The New Parish is about how faithful presence in a local and communal context, just might set the stage for a re-imagined way of being the Church. And this of course gets to the book’s benefits.

I’ve been hearing in the last few weeks since the book has come out is that it’s giving folks language and even imagination for longings they’ve had for how to be the church in their every day lives. In other words it’s putting language to longings that I think a whole lot of Christ’s followers intuitively feel, but wrestle with how to communicate.[Continue Reading...]

Tomorrow . . .

I said I would publish a blog post today (Thursday), but it will be posted tomorrow (Friday) instead.

You won’t want to miss it.

Also, if you haven’t yet listened to my latest podcast episode THE FIRST RELATIONSHIP, you’ll definitely want to hear it.

Don’t let the fact that it’s Part I of a series deter you.

It is a stand-alone conference message. 

Those of you who commented had one response: “Wow!”

I felt that way while delivering it.

What a God!

P.S. If my podcast, blog, or books have blessed you, please share the love with one simple click.

Attention Pastors

Quick Update: My entire library (all my print books as a discounted Box Set) now includes my newest title, Jesus Now. Click here to check it out.

Based on past surveys and comments, a large percentage of the people who read this blog, who listen to the podcast, and who read my books on Jesus Studies

(e.g., Jesus Manifesto, Jesus Now, Jesus: A Theography, etc.),

as well as my books on the deeper Christian life

(e.g., God’s Favorite Place on Earth, Revise Us Again, From Eternity to Here, etc.)[Continue Reading...]

The First Relationship

Today’s podcast episode is a spoken message I delivered at a conference in Toronto, Canada in 2009. It’s the first part of a series of talks on “the first relationship” which will be part of an upcoming course, “A Deeper Journey into God’s Eternal Purpose.”

A women who heard this message live was in tears when I finished. She kept repeating, “It’s so simple. It’s so simple. It’s so simple.”

I’d be interested to hear what effect it has on you as well.

In short, it takes some complex theological ideas (what the ancient Christians called the perichoresis, the Divine and eternal dance between the Father, Son, and Spirit) and turns it into a simple narrative.

Listen to the episode in the following ways:[Continue Reading...]

Because You Asked . . . Three New Projects Coming Soon

The reason why I blog, write books, and have a podcast is to provide value to God’s people.

That said, what I decide to write or speak on is directly related to the specific needs that my readers have.

Consequently, I’m presently working on three new projects — all based on your requests. They are . . .

1. The Physical Edition of My Online Course

Many of you have asked that my first online discipleship course, Living by the Indwelling Life of Christ, be put into a physical course, not just an online course.

At the moment, over 1,000 people have taken the online course.

But many resisted getting it because they prefer a physical product.[Continue Reading...]

What Coca-Cola’s New Bottle Teaches Us About Partaking of Jesus Christ

Throughout the New Testament, Jesus Christ presents Himself to us as food and drink.

And so do so many of the shadows of Christ contained in the Old Testament.

Coca-Cola’s new “friendly twist” bottle cannot be opened by one person. It requires another who also has the bottle.

In the same way, we can never partake of the fullness of the riches of Jesus Christ by ourselves, as a solo Christian.

We need the other members of the body.

For the riches of Christ . . . His fullness . . . is never given to one believer, no matter how gifted or spiritually mature they may be.

His fullness resides in His body.

Take a look at Coca-Cola’s promo video with this imagery in mind.

To borrow another Coca-Cola slogan, He’s the “real thing” . . . eternally refreshing![Continue Reading...]

Heroes

Young men and women are looking for heroes.

The same is true for Christian young men and women.

We need heroes to admire and look up to. We need heroes who can inspired us . . . people who have gone ahead of us.

We need men and women of God upon whose shoulders we can stand. And in God’s mercy, perhaps see further than they did.

If you were to ask the average 20- or 30-something Christian today who their heroes are, many would rattle off a few celebrity-pop-mega-church pastors. None of whom they know personally.

Some will mention Calvin, Luther, Wesley, Jonathan Edwards or Spurgeon.[Continue Reading...]

NoiseTrade Books

Perhaps you’ve heard of it. Perhaps not.

But NoiseTrade has turned the music industry upside down. It’s wisely connected musicians directly to listeners by offering free music downloads.

The music marketing startup was founded in 2008. And it has now expanded its platform to help authors and publishers to let people know about their books.

Enter the launch of NoiseTrade Books.

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On this site, you’ll discover a diverse selection of books you can download for free — including Christian titles.[Continue Reading...]

Nailing a Common Problem in Female-Male Relationships

It’s been some time since I’ve  posted in the humor category. But this short video is priceless as it underscores — with a creative dose of humor — what many behavioral experts have been saying for years: Women want a guy to just listen and understand while men just want to fix the problem.

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Know Your Church History: A Review

It’s interesting to me that Justin Holcomb has just released a book about heresy.

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I say “interesting” because another author and I have just written a new article on what we call “the H-bomb” — how Christians misuse the word “heresy” all the time. The article will be published this Fall, God willing.

In our article, we will show that the way the word “heresy” and “heretical” were used in the New Testament doesn’t at all map to how people commonly use it today. Neither does it map to the way pre-modern Christians used it.

That said, Holcomb’s book looks at how historic Christianity understood the word. And in his companion volume on the creeds and counsils, he explains what orthodox doctrine is exactly.

In Know the Heretics, Holcomb provides an accessible guide to the most significant heretical beliefs throughout Christian history. Significantly, most of them are alive today.[Continue Reading...]